France captain Kylian Mbappe has admitted playing with a face mask to protect his broken nose is "an absolute horror".

The forward who is currently representing the former World Champions at the continental showpiece in Germany has been made to endure the pain that comes with the mask following the unfortunate event that happened in his side’s opening game.

Mbappe has since worn the mask in his two previous games after missing the barren draw between France and Netherlands in their second group game.

France tickets have been among the most highly-demanded before and during the Euros.

What Happened?

During the final moments of France’s narrow 1-0 win over Austria in Les Blues’ opening match at Euro 2024 on June 17, Mbappé crashed into the shoulder of Austrian defender Kevin Danso when challenging for the ball, and that led to a broken nose.

The injury overshadowed France’s opening win against Austria in Dusseldorf with Mbappe, who was booked after re-entering the pitch following treatment, taken to hospital shortly after full-time.

Following the game, the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed that Mbappé, who has now completed his move to Real Madrid on a free transfer, suffered a broken nose and would need to wear a mask to continue playing at the tournament.

At first, there were fears that Mbappe might need surgery but the FFF confirmed that wouldn’t be needed and later asked for ideas for his mask on X, formerly Twitter.

Consequently, Mbappé missed the second group match against the Netherlands, a 0-0 draw, before returning to the team to score in France’s 1-1 draw with Poland and also played in his side’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the round of 16.

He was handed a starting berth for France’s final group stage match against Poland where he scored in the 56th minute from the spot. It was the France captain’s first-ever goal in the Euros.

Mbappe did feature in the Euro 2020 edition but failed to find the net in its four games since it was knocked out in the Round of 16 by Switzerland on penalties. It was also his 23rd shot in the tournament, including the previous edition. The Real Madrid forward also failed to score against Belgium in the round of 16.

What did Mbappé say about wearing the mask?

Speaking to reporters on Sunday ahead of the clash against Belgium, Mbappé said playing in the mask is “horrible.”

“When I took the blow to the face, I didn’t know what was going on,” Mbappé said. “I didn’t feel that my nose was broken, it was actually when I looked at the goalkeeper and I saw his face that I thought: ‘Oh, something is wrong here.’

“However, when I got back to the dressing room and knew everything that happened around me, I thought I was going home. I looked at myself in the mirror and I thought that it was a bad idea to send me home.

“But I’m happy to be here. It was difficult because there was a lot of information, a lot of appointments, I didn’t sleep that much – I spent two nights without sleeping – I was trying to go through all the motions, but I wasn’t able to play against the Netherlands and that was difficult to sit on the bench … I felt quite helpless.”

Mbappé added that if he needed to head the ball to score a goal, he would do it. “My nose is already broken, what more can happen?” he joked.

On why he changed his mask multiple times, the forward said he needed to get the right fit for his face.

“It’s horrible playing with a mask,” Mbappé replied. “I keep changing masks because every time there is something that bothers me, there’s something that’s not quite right. It’s quite difficult playing with a mask because it limits your field of vision, your sweat clogs up and you need to let the sweat out.

“The first few days I felt like I was wearing 3D glasses and it wasn’t me who was playing. If I get to take the mask off I will, but now I don’t have a choice. I hate it. It’s annoying. I’ve had to change it five times.”

What Deschamps say about Mbappe’s mask?

Deschamps has warned that Mbappe could have to use the mask for some time.

“Mbappe is getting used to the mask, Deschamps told reporters after the win over Belgium.

“What is crucial is that the healing progresses daily. However, aside from that, the mask can cause some discomfort due to sweat and effort. He can wipe his face occasionally but he is adapting to it.

“Kylian mentioned that the mask makes everything appear in 3D, which can be disorienting. The direct view is fine but the peripheral vision is somewhat compromised. He’ll need to get accustomed to it because he might have to wear it for a few weeks or even months to protect himself,” Deschamps concluded.

What next for France and Mbappe?

Mbappé is a prominent figure in the French squad and his presence matters a lot to Didier Deschamps and the rest of the team. Having featured in the hard-fought win over Portugal, the former World Champions will be hoping to see the best of the Madrid forward in the semi-final against Spain.

Widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, Mbappé has scored 48 goals in 82 appearances for France and helped lead the team to glory at the 2018 World Cup.

Under current manager Deschamps, France has won the World Cup, and the Nations League, reached another World Cup final, and also the Euro 2016 final.

Although France has not impressed at Euro 2024, they are still one of the favourites for the trophy and they now have a date with Luis de la Fuente Castillo’s Spain to reach the final./p>